Overcoming feelings of loneliness

A very lonely boy at the roadside.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is a longing to be with a loved one, to be understood, to be loved, to feel wanted, needed and cared for." 

Without anyone or anyway to feed these very basic appetites, it leaves one frightfully empty inside, all alone and without help.

Loneliness is no respecter of persons. It afflicts old and young alike. Most people have the inner strength to face the affliction and to throw it off, at least to some extent.

But others will need help. This is because they may not be even aware of it's effects on them.

Yet often their loneliness causes them to behave in manner that is disturbing to others and to themselves.

Some of this lonely people retreat into a shell of dreamy self-concerned; others put on protective amour of critical hostility and bitterness.

Some become impostors: they pretend to be someone else.

Others develop obsessions, not only compulsive eating and drinking, two of the most familiar habits used to compensate for loneliness, but sometimes compulsive sleeping or reading.

Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that most of the other reasons are directly or indirectly related to loneliness.

For example, it is often the underlying cause of alcoholism, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency and marital unfaithfulness. It is also notable that loneliness is on the list of the reasons for suicides.

This does not mean that a normal person may not get lonely at times. He or she may, but does not have to succumb to loneliness, that is, prolonged periods of depressed lonesomeness.

Loneliness and being alone are not the same. Solitude is a state of being geographically alone, whereas loneliness is an emotional condition.

It is not only good but necessary for people to be alone at times. It gives a person a chance to wash out the inside.

Silence has a purging and restoring power. Being alone is good as long as it not an escape from reality and as long as it is not overdone. But what could be the causes for loneliness?

Causes and bad effects of loneliness


Why do people get lonely? We get lonely because we are not engineered to live by ourselves, or to be by ourselves for a great length of time.

Isolation in a physical and psychological sense brings on loneliness.

However, solving the problem of loneliness is not simply a matter of surrounding oneself with people.

If this were the case, there would be no lonely people in big cities. In fact, some of the loneliest people on earth are right in the middle of a crowd.

The problem is not simply people, but the need to have positive communication and relationships.

Failed constructive relationships is one of the most basic reasons for loneliness.

Loneliness may also stem from a sense of not being loved or cared for.

Old and young delinquents, as many social workers know only too well, are generally unloved and thwarted people.

What many of these want is simply a sense of belonging somewhere or to someone.

However, the danger is that once a lonely person find a listening ear and gets a taste of friendship, he or she may do almost anything to keep it.

Thus, becoming an easy target for seduction into an harmful relationships.

For example, a lonely girl returning night after night to her one or two apartment can become desperate for companionship.

Therefore, she may get into a relationship with someone just to keep herself from being alone.

However, relationships based on nothing but a desire to escape from loneliness seldom brings real contentment.

Having someone with whom to live can definitely help to conquer loneliness, if he or she is the right sort. Hence, more is needed than simply being with someone.

Loneliness is one of the greatest problems among the aged. The most common cause is neglect, even when living with relatives, but more often when living in nursing homes.

Older people tend to feel outdated, deliberately cut off by those from whom they expect love and friendship.

In too many case older people no longer occupy a place of affection and respect in the family circle as they once did.

How can you deal with loneliness? Let us look at some suggestions.

Dealing with the problem of loneliness


The first thing for you to do is to make up your mind that you do not have to be lonely.

The second thing to do is to stop pitying yourself for the state that you are in and start doing something about it.

The only way to enjoy life is to share it with others and not engulf it with sorrows.

What can you do? Rather than be an isolationist, avail yourself of opportunities to be with people.

Not just any people, but people whom you know, people with whom you have something in common, so that you may feel free to converse.

If others do not at first invite you to join their company, take the initiative and invite them to join yours. Of course, this is not the whole answer.

There are persons who are constantly with others, even with persons with whom they have much in common, but they fail to communicate and suffer loneliness.

Are you such a person? If so try and remedy it. Show interest in those around you. Listen to what they have to say and share in the conversation.

Remember worthwhile things you read and see, and share them with others. Be willing to give a little and loneliness will begin to go.

Having nothing to do can also bring on loneliness. To enjoy life, keep active. What especially counts is if we do satisfying work.

Just running around and looking busy does not bring satisfaction.

An old age says:

A windmill twirling its arms all day is admirable only when it has corn to grind." 

Those whose work benefits those around them rarely find that they are alone and unloved. Active people, those who are busy, seldom are lonely.

For example, a lonely wife told about her loneliness after having moved to a new neighborhood. Her husband’s work kept him away from Monday to Friday.

It took this woman six unhappy months to learn that a sense of belonging is something she had to create for herself.

“It dawned on me at last me at last,” she said. “So I got on my feet and stopped thinking about myself and started doing meaningful work. Work really helped me cure my loneliness.”

However, the most outstanding remedy for combating loneliness is love. A lonely person is usually filled with deep fear and distrust.

You must learn to give and receive love. Love is contagious, if your love others they will love you back and loneliness will loosen its grip.

So rather than bemoan your loneliness, remedy it now and you will have a much fulfilling life.

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